Novak Djokovic left 'embarrassed' about how low his French Open expectations are after recent poor form

Sunday, 26 May 2024 at 17:03
Novak Djokovic is finally in Paris ahead of the French Open amid a detour into Geneva where he was left again searching for answers about his game after being thumped in a deciding set by Tomas Machac.
Djokovic instead of being his bullish self was only partially on Sunday as he finally encountered press. The World No.1 said that he still has high hopes but low expectations. He said that anything less than a title is unsatisfactory, but also that he has to say that. While admitting that he is 'embarrassed' about how low his expectations are.
The Serbian usually heads into this juncture of the year full of confidence. But to say that it hasn't been smooth sailing is to put it mildly. Djokovic lost out to Machac in Geneva in the semi-finals after being defeated by Alejandro Tabilo in Rome. He has also lost to Casper Ruud, Luca Nardi and Jannik Sinner fairly early on this season. Ever since the Davis Cup, he has not really been himself but also given his schedule, it is always hard to gauge with Djokovic.
"Low expectations and high hopes," the 24-time Grand Slam champion said in press on Sunday.
"It's tough to talk about. It's very subjective. You know, I almost feel a bit embarrassed to say what my expectations are. You know, anything but a title for me is not satisfactory, you know. So it always has been like that. I know, you know, it might sound arrogant to a lot of people, but I think I have the career that backs it up.
"In a way, me playing still at this highest level, one of the major reasons is trying to, you know, write more history of the sport and win the biggest titles that, you know, Paris is definitely one of them."
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Novak Djokovic by his own admission is lowering his expectations for the French Open.
"So that's why my hopes and goals are always the same, but I have to lower the expectations. When I say that I mean, you know, maybe not thinking too much ahead in advance in terms of the tournament and who I might face in the later rounds, but really taking it day by day, step by step, and really building my game. Because that's what I have really been struggling with, not really playing in a consistently good level. So I obviously need that in order to have any chance to go to the final match."
He also opened up that he is affected by his form and that by his own admission he has had a poor 2024. He has yet to reach a final let alone win a title this year. "Of course it does affect me, you know, the five months that I had so far in the year that haven't been great in terms of my tennis. That's why I have, you know, a kind of an approach that is focused on a daily basis more trying to build the form and momentum so that I can have a better chance to reach further in the tournament," he added.
But also whilst giving a blunt assessment, he doesn't want to dwell and wants to focus on putting it right. "I hope you understand that. It's just I don't want open Pandora box and talk about things. Just really try to focus myself on what needs to be done. What has happened, happened, and it's in the past.
"It's, you know, something that I can't affect anymore, but I can kind of learn to rectify certain things and right the certain things that are wrong and really not serving the purpose of my highest performance level. So that's what we have been working on as a team, and hopefully it will give us good results here."

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